Formed metal parts are commonplace in many everyday
items from automobiles to cooking utensils, but due to the high
cost of tool production and time delays if the tools fail to perform
properly during testing, there is increasing interest in the numerical
modelling of the forming process prior to tool production.
This project, carried out by Volkswagen and
Engineering Systems International, was aimed at creating a virtual
testing system using novel numerical simulation techniques for the
stamping of metal sheets for automotive parts. The new system allows
optimisation of the entire process from design to production, including
parts design and selection of sheet thickness, and has led to dramatic
reductions in the time required to bring a part to market by eliminating
the need for prototype tools.
The system has now been widely implemented
at VW, AUDI and SKODA plants. Partners say this was the right project
at the right time. The need for cost reduction was urgent and constantly
increasing in the automotive industry, and before this project a
full understanding of numerical simulation technologies was still
to be developed.